Sales Training Program Statistics
You’ve realized that 50% of your sales team doesn’t hit their monthly sales target. Even your top seller’s performance is erratic at best. You come to a simple conclusion. The only way your team will hit quota regularly is if you invest in a sales training program. This methodology will create a repeatable process for consistent results. A good sales skills course will include processes for prospecting for new business, effectively qualifying opportunities, presenting compelling solutions, and handling objections/negotiations. Firstly, do your research. Secondly, find the best methodology. And lastly, invest the time and money necessary. Now what?
Look for Early Adopters
This will be a small percentage of your team. However, utilization is easier to drive when sellers see peers using the methodology and being consistently successful. Best practices should become part of the weekly team meeting. I was recently at a sales manager’s summit. A manager was recognized for successfully implementing their new methodology. Since then, his approach has become the standard expected by his VP for the rest of the team. The thought becomes this. “If he can do it, so can I.”
Involve Tech Sales Support
Sales teams often use their tech people to run meetings. This happens primarily with product features and technology. Technical sales teams should require sellers to gather more information. This helps them better qualify opportunities prior to using them as a resource. Moreover, this drives utilization and more productive resource allocation. I have found that peer relationships between sellers and tech sales specialists are an effective conduit. Managers can use these relationships to convey ideas that might be met with resistance during normal “manager-seller” engagements.
Use the Tools Provided by Your Sales Training Program
Tools are included for a reason. Forms and guides are designed to aid the implementation of the methodology. Additionally, they give structure to aid in the reinforcement of its use. Also, don’t allow “changes” to the tools. Team members will offer suggestions to “make it more applicable to their job” or “easier to use”. Do not view them as early adopters who just need a little customization. In most cases, the changes they want will result in them being more comfortable with the tool. This is because it will match what they presently do. This is in contrast to the behavior you are trying to get them to adopt. Changes only dilute the tool’s effectiveness.
Make it Relatable
Sellers often don’t realize that the criteria that a customer uses to buy what they are selling are the same criteria the seller uses to buy themselves a cup of coffee on their way to work or perhaps a new surround sound system for their home. Show them that the conversation they are having with a particular prospect is no different than a conversation they have with someone they meet through friends. I have found that asking salespeople to explain why they bought an article of clothing they have on makes them realize that buying criteria were established whether they realized it or not.
Sales Training Program 101: Be Consistent
If you are going to implement the utilization of the methodology then do so across the board. Be as consistent as possible. Your sales team is already challenged with thoughts of “when do I use it?” If they are expected to use it all the time it becomes part of the culture. Avoid requiring them to use it on some opportunities and not on others. I’ve spoken to managers who admit that the weekly review with their “top sellers” is “I don’t care if you’re using it because I don’t need to worry about you.” Conversely, the same review with a “low performer” is a beat down as to why they are not using the methodology. That will not be sending the right message to your team.
There is always resistance to something new simply because it is different than what they are used to. Try to get them to realize that the methodology isn’t “something else” they have to do but more of a structure and process that they can integrate into what they are doing already to help them be more efficient. Be prepared to “sell them” on the new methodology by demonstrating clearly and concisely how the new skills will help them achieve THEIR goals.
Become Proficient Yourself
The old adage is “Lead by example.” If your sellers see you becoming more proficient with the utilization of the methodology then it becomes part of the culture faster. In addition, the better you get the easier it will be for you to coach your sellers to becoming more proficient because you will be in a better position to evaluate their command of the process.
It’s time to get the most out of your investment in a sales training program.
While all of the aforementioned tips will get you on the right track, don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick one for yourself and one for your team and start with that. A steady, consistent approach will be the key to get the buy-in that you will need to be consistently successful.